PSALM 102 TALK: POUR OUT YOUR HEART TO THE LORD

PSALM 102 TALK: POUR OUT YOUR HEART TO THE LORD

 (A Psalm that explores how God wants us to come to him with all our pains and worries in prayer and tell him honestly how we feel and what we need and he not only will listen to us but he will answer us and give us his peace which passes all understanding)

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INTRODUCTION

 Recently I shared with the church bible study group I regularly attend how years ago I was so desperate for a parking spot in the local shopping centre parking area that I prayed to God for a parking spot. It was one of the weeks leading up to Christmas and I had dropped my wife off at the shopping centre door and drove looking for a parking spot. Not only was the car park full but also I was in bumper to pumper traffic circling the car park for a spot fo some time.

In desperation I prayed a quick prayer for a parking spot and went around the floor of the parking lot I was on one more time and then I saw the reversing lights of a car come on directly in from of me and to the left hand side of my car. I naturally came to a stop and let the car reverse out and I drove into my spot. I sent up to the Lord a short thank you prayer for his provision of a parking spot,

That evening after I got home I thought about the theology of praying for a parking spot. Was God who is king of heaven and earth really interested in my need of a parking spot and are there not far more important matters to bring before the Lord, after all he has to respond to millions of prayers every day. I ended up not resolving my thoughts on this at that time.

Then in that recent bible study we were discussing a well known couple of verses in Philippians, Philippians 4: 6 – 7, which says,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

The word in the text “anything” made me think of my dilemma of whether I should pray about a parking spot as that day some years ago was yet another time I had become anxious about something and yet Paul says,

“Do not be anxious about anything”

He goes on to what we should do when we become anxious about anything with these words,

“But in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”.

Note how he says in every situation, pray and note what God will in us if we do bring our petitions or requests to God in prayer,

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

As I said people have had and do have far more problems and difficulties to bring to the Lord, than the need for a parking spot yet the same principle applies don’t be anxious about anything but in every situation present your request to God.

I have come across some amazing prayers in the Psalms and have been blown away by the way these great men of faith of old cried out to God in honest prayer. These men seem to just pour out their hearts to the Lord and most of these types of prayers are in Psalms called laments.

I read an excellent definition and explanation of what a Lament actually is by a man named Jason Jackson on his introduction to Psalm 102. He points out that the Hebrew heading for this Psalm actually defines a lament,

“A prayer of an afflicted man. When he is faint and pours out his lament before the Lord”.

Jackson then gives us five parts that all true laments contain:

  1. Address to God
  2. Complaint
  3. Confession of trust
  4. Petition
  5. Words of assurance and a vow to praise.

I decided to put Jackson’s theory to the test for Psalm 102 and found him to be totally correct, so much so his five- point structure of a lament became the basis for my structure of my Psalm talk for this Psalm.

This Psalm seems to have been written in Babylon where the Jews were locked up in exile and just before the return from exile came about as verse 13 reads,

“You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favour to her; the appointed time has come”.

 He goes on to speak of the ruins of Zion or Jerusalem and how God will rebuild Jerusalem soon.

The writer seems to be suffering personally from a terrible illness that has brought him close to death’s door as verse 24 reads,

“So I said: “Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days; your years go on through all generations”.

However the writer seems to also speak of the affliction of the people in exile and somehow this is linked with his own personal affliction as we read in verses 16 and 17,

“For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. 17 He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea”.

How these two things are linked we simply do not know and I can only speculate that maybe his seemingly approaching death owing to sickness before his people’s   restoration caused him to pray earnestly for more time in this life to see God’s coming restoration of his people from the hardships of exile to life again in the Promised Land of Israel.

Based on Jason’s Jacksons structure of a lament my structure for this Psalm talk is:

  1. (1 – 2)   HIS CALL TO GOD

 

  1. vs. 1     His cry to God
  2. vs. 2     The urgent need for an answer

 

  1. (3 – 11)   HIS COMPLAINT TO GOD

 

  1. (3 – 7)  The physical pain caused his affliction
  2. (8 – 9)   The social pain caused by his enemies
  3. (10 – 11) The spiritual pain caused by God’s discipline

 

  1. (12 – 22) HIS CONFESSION OF FAITH IN GOD

 

  1. vs. 12     God enthroned in heaven
  2. (13 – 22) God will restore his people

 

  1. (23 – 26) HIS CONTINUATION OF HIS REQUEST TO GOD

 

  1. (23 – 24a)   Stop his pending death
  2. (24b – 26)   God’s immortality compared to man’s mortality

 

  1. (27 – 28)   HIS CERTAIN HOPE IN GOD

 

  1. vs. 27       Hope in the unchanging eternal God
  2. vs. 28       Hope in the promise of God’s eternal presence with his people

 

  1. (1 – 2)   HIS CALL TO GOD

 

  1. vs. 1     His cry to God

The writer of Psalm 102 starts his prayer to God as many former laments begin with a desperate cry to God,

Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry for help come to you”

 This writer not only pours out his heart to God in prayer he uses all the way through his Psalm or lament wording and concepts from parts of the scriptures he was obviously very familiar with. This cry to God is reminiscent of the wording of Psalm 5 verse 2,

“Listen to my cry for help”

 And Psalm 18: 6,

“In my distress I called to the Lord, I cried to my God for help”.

 Not that he believed God does not listen to the prayers of his people as he later says in verse 17,

“He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea”.

Note how the Psalmist does not keep his pain and conflict locked up inside of him as many do which leads to many people suffering mental damage and often leads to some of them taking their very lives. What he is doing is very good therapy as bottling up pain and conflict is simply not a healthy way to deal with it.

When my wife was about to give birth to our first child she spoke of how a number of migrant women screamed very loudly as they went through the pain of child birth which most Anglo Saxon background women usually sought to avoid. Maybe our pain more openly expressed is better for us than trying to show how tough we are bearing that pain by holding it in.

The writer of Psalm 102 had no qualms in telling God loudly and honestly how much pain he was in, as we will see from the next section of this Psalm. As I said in the opening section Paul taught we should turn our anxiety or mental pain into prayer and that this is exactly what God wants us to do, Philippians 4: 6,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”.

How we can cry out to God when in pain with thanksgiving is I believe by acknowledging all that God has done for us in Christ and all that God will do for us in Christ in the future when he will take us to heaven which Revelation 21: 3 – 4 speaks of,

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

 With that kind of hope in mind we can present our pain and worries to God in prayer with thanksgiving.

  1. vs. 2     The urgent need for an answer

This prayerful cry to God for help in Psalm 102 continues with these words,

“Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress”.

 The writer obviously believes God listens to prayer and answers it but the expression,

“Do not hide your face from me”.

Is said because like Job, the most well known Godly sufferer when pain and strife go on for a time the thought will always be God is not seeing our pain or God has deserted us in our pain which in Old Testament terms is he has turned his face from us as Job claims in Job 13: 24,

“Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy?”

This writer seems not only very familiar with Psalms written before his time but the words and ideas in the book of Job. Maybe he is a Jewish scribe taken into exile or rather born in exile and trained extensively in the scriptures of the Jews.

David Guzik writes,

“When he had the sense that God’s favor and face were evident, then affliction could be endured”.

This realization does come about as we will see unto the third section of this Psalm but for now he needs God to turn to him and give him a answer and in the second part of verse 2 he needs an answer urgently as we read him praying these words,

“Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly”.

Why did he need an urgent answer to his prayer?

This becomes clear from what he says in verse 11,

“My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass”.

 Words like this and other expressions later in the Psalm indicate that the writer believes he is very close to death and so his need for help and healing is very urgent. We will look later at why he wants an extension of life but for now he needs God to listen to his cry and turn to him in his distress to help him.

From time to time we have been asked to pray for people in our church who seem close to death and some have advocated we should pray for a miracle so that the person in question might be come out of what seems their terminal illness and be healed. Others have prayed that God comfort them as they move through the trial of death.

I have thought the best thing we can do for these people is ask that they know God’s presence and help as they face whatever God has planned for them, even a miraculous recovery, if this be his will but if not that Jesus would be with them helping them carry the burden of their illness as he promises to do in Matthew 11: 28 – 30,

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Also I would like to point out that when Paul speaks of turning our anxieties, whatever they might be into prayers he does not go on to say God will necessarily take what caused the anxieties away from us, although that could be what will happen, no what Paul believes God will give us is expressed so beautifully in Philippians 4: 7,

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

Paul says that God promises his peace, peace I like to call, “Peace to cope” and this after all is the best thing God can give us as we face the many trials and difficulties of life even the great trial and difficulty of death which we all must face one day unless we are part of the return of Christ before death comes to us.

  1. (3 – 11)   HIS COMPLAINT TO GOD

The writer now pours out his heart to the Lord expressing the great pain he is suffering from, I think, two sources, one some kind of life threatening illness and the pain associated with being a prisoner in the Babylonian which could be just being part of exile Jews.

We will be looking at three kinds of pain in this outpouring of this writer’s heart to God,

  1. Physical pain caused by his affliction
  2. The social pain caused by his enemies
  3. The spiritual pain of God’s discipline

So lets then have a closer look at each of these:

  1. (3 – 7)   The physical pain caused by his affliction

The first pain the writer of Psalm 102 pours out to God in prayer is his crippling physical pain. Let me now try and open up each of these five verses to reveal the extent of the physical pain he was experiencing.

Verse. 3 – Pain makes him feel useless and consumes him to the core.

“For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers”.

The effects of his fever can be seen in the images of fire in idea of smoke and burning. He obviously is really hurting and he first indicates in this verse that his physical pain makes him feel useless. He seems unable to do anything in his day to day life but experience pain.

I have not had to face yet an illness or ailment that gave me continuous pain and suffering. I do remember, of course experiencing pain from time to time in my life and one time that comes to mind is when I was 15 and broke my wrist playing rugby at school. My mum was called to the school, which took her over an hour to come to the school and take me to the hospital, and then I waited over two hours in the emergency ward to be attended to. The pain seemed unbearable and I sat rocking two and throw howling in pain yet the doctors and nurses seemed to just ignore my suffering.

Pain like this writer speaks of would make him feel useless as he expresses with the phrase,

“For my days vanish like smoke”.

Note his pain was not just a couple of hours like my broken wrist experience but “for days”. It was a prolonged period of pain and he lets God through prayer just how bad this experience is. He again seems to draw his images from his bible as we read in Psalm 37: 20,

“But the wicked will perish: The Lord’s enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish – vanish like smoke”.

If he had this verse in mind then he is also feeling that he is being treated like a enemy of God and not a faithful servant of God. This was the dilemma of Job who suffered such great pain and distress and his friends told him that this could only come from God because God was treating him as a wayward sinner.

Interestingly the next phrase in verse 3 comes straight from the book of Job, Job 4: 14,

“Fear and trembling seized me and made all my bones shake”

The writer of Psalm 102 puts this idea this way,

“ My bones burn like glowing anger”.

Our writer of Psalm 102 has not got shaking bones but burning bones which to me is saying that the burning pain seems to be at his core, his bones which indicates that his pain was a deep seated and all embracing pain which overwhelmed his wretched body.

I have seen friends and family suffer the pain of cancer and my father – in law some years ago had to inject himself with morphine as he suffered the crippling pain of lung and throat cancer which reduced his once robust strong body to just skin and bones. His agony was for my wife and I something that reduced us both to tears and his passing a couple weeks later ended up being a blessing as he was finally out of pain and we hoped in the arms of the Lord in heaven.

Pain and death, sadly are part of the results of sin as Paul puts it simply in Romans 6: 23,

“The wages of sin is death”

However for the Christian, who will suffer death like the non – believer but unlike the non- believer has a great hope beyond there death as Paul goes on to say in Romans 6: 23,

“But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

Verse 4 – Pain breaks his heart and causes him to stop eating food

The writer continues to pour out his heart to the Lord expressing his great physical pain with the words,

“My heart is blighted and withered like grass”

The heart in the Old Testament is the inner – self or seat of our being and this man is saying that he heart is blighted and the English Standard Version translate “Blighted” as “Struck down” or we could even say broken or broken down. He feels physically crushed in his heart and draws on another expression from Psalm 37, this time verse 2 which says,

“For like grass they will soon witherr, like green plants they will soon die away”.

This man like David lived in the Middle East and Tremper Longman 111 points out,

“Grass is short lived and under the hot sun of Palestine (Middle East) loses life, turns yellow and shrivels up”.

His pain simply makes him feel deeply crushed and the image of withered grass tells us he feels close to death.

Then he says in his prayer to God,

“I forget to eat food”.

This is common to people who are very sick and in a lot of pain they loose their appetite and stop eating food. I know this even from own experience and it is common for people who are seriously ill to loose massive amounts of weight from their forced physical fasting.

In verse 9 he speaks of ashes being his food and tears his drink and all this reveals how this man is in deep in pain and sorrow like the Son of Korah who wrote of this Psalm 42 when he speaks of his painful experience of depression in verse 3 of that Psalm, which reads,

“My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God’.

Again I am struck by this mans ability to pour out his heart and mind to the Lord telling him of the terrible pain he is experiencing.

Verse 5 – The pain and groaning that leads to massive weight loss

What he says in verse 5 seems a natural out come of what he has just said about not eating food as he prays,

“Because of my loud groaning I am reduced to skin and bones”.

His physical pain caused by his serious illness has caused him to stop eating and naturally he is now reduced to skin and bone, which means he has experienced massive weight loss.

As I said earlier I saw this with my very own eyes in the terminal illness of my father – in law as he quickly went from being a big and strong man in his early sixties to a tall thin and withered man of skin and bones. He was almost un – recognizable when my wife and I visited him two weeks before his death to lung and throat cancer and we spent a couple of agonizing days staying with him trying to desperately comfort him in his terrible pain.

The local Anglican minister spent some time with him praying for him before he died and he shared with him God’s Gospel message and he told my wife and I at his funeral that he believed he did turn to the Lord in those final days of his life and did receive some measure of inner peace and hope as his life sadly left him like smoke from a burning fire as the writer of Psalm 102 put it in verse 3.

Verse 6 –7- The pain of loneliness in his suffering

The writer then pours out to God his feelings of loneliness, which many say they feel when they experience great pain when they were sick, he writes,

“I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins”.

Interestingly Allan Harman points out that the owl is one of the unclean birds spoken of in Leviticus 11: 17 but the owl is probably more than likely chosen because of its solitary nature which also fits the expression,

“Like an owl among the ruins”

And the expression in verse 7,

“Like a bird alone on a roof”.

Maybe as he prayed this prayer he looked out of his window and saw an owl on a roof top next to his house and this put into his mind a picture of how he felt in his painful illness, all alone and needing the comfort of his Lord through friends and family.

In my Psalm 6 talk I speak of the story of Lea Hatcher a famous Australian TV presenter and Christian who experienced the pain and strife of the sickness called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and how he found that the best help he had during his two agonizing years of this illness was the company of Christian friends who simply sat with him offering prayer and encouragement.

The writer of Psalm 102, like Job did not receive this kind of help but we will see that like Leigh Hatcher also got from some of his visitors some harsh words and advice from non – believers and sadly sometime like Job, miss- directed advice from so called Godly people. People who told Leigh to either pull himself together and get up out of bed and back to work or worse than that advice that said if he had prayed a little harder and had a little more faith he would be healed.

Job’s friends with their miss- guided words of advice only acted as another tool of torment from his already long list of instruments of pain. Sometimes when we are really sick we want to be left alone as other people around us only make us feel the pain even more but to be left totally alone is a recipe for feeling like our writer does as he describes it in verse 7,

“I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof”.

One final word on offering supportive comfort to people we know who are suffering pain of some kind is found in the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 1: 3 – 6,

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer”.

  1. (8 – 9)   The social pain caused by his enemies

In addition to his physical pain caused directly, I believe because of his illness he has the pain of torment from his enemies and being an exile in a foreign land like Babylon he would have had many. He writes in verse 8,

“All day long my enemies taunt me; those who rail against me use my name as a curse”.

Jason Jackson makes it clear what this social pain for this pious Jew in a foreign land like Babylon would have been like when he is seen to be so chronically ill, he writes,

“In a culture where ill health was regarded as divine punishment for sins, he has found himself ostracized and persecuted. Rivals seized the opportunity to taunt him and misuse his name”.

This verse reminds me greatly of Job who suffered greatly because God wanted to show Satan that his faith was genuine and yet all Job got from what was his so called friends was constant arguments that Job had sinned greatly as his sickness and misfortune was great. Jobs friend Eliphaz says this to Job in Job 22: 4 – 5,

“Is it for your piety that he rebukes you and brings charges against you?
Is not your wickedness great? Are not your sins endless?”

The teaching and advice from Jobs friends was sound biblical teaching but when it was applied to Jobs suffering as its cause and remedy it was foolishness as Job was not suffering because of his sins and therefore Jobs friends advice was only a further instrument of pain that Job had to bear.

In our writer of Psalm 102 his painful social taunts came more likely from non – believers who took the opportunity to kick a good man when he was down and they used another social weapon against him expressed in the words of verse 9b,

Those who rail against me use my name as a curse”.

I have often wondered why non – believers choose to use the name of the Lord Jesus Christ as a curse or swear word. These are people who refuse to acknowledge his existence and dam anyone who believe in him yet his name is the one they choose to curse and swear with.

Maybe the answer can be found to this quandary of mine in the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 2: 15 and 16,

“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life”.

The next time I hear a non – believer use the name of Christ as a swear word I will ask why do you choose to use that name to curse someone or something and I might be surprised what there answer will be.

For this man his very name was used as a curse which might be because many Jews had names that included the name of their God or some aspect of their faith then the curse was a curse against the God he continued to have faith in even in the face of terrible illness.

He concludes his physical and social pain with the words of verse 9, which says,

“For I eat ashes as my food and mingle my drink with tears”

It was not uncommon for ancient Hebrews to sit in ashes or dust when they sought the Lord when being disciplined by him and a excellent example of this is Job in Job 2: 8,

“Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes”.

So as this pious Jew suffers what he calls in the next verse God’s great wrath or discipline he sits in ashes and as he does he feels the powdery ashes falling on his lips and having given up eating sees this as his only food. As he pours out his heart to the Lord with tears he sees these as part of what he is drinking. He is greatly suffering and he is telling God just what he is feeling and thinking as he suffers.

  1. (10 – 11) The spiritual pain caused by God’s discipline

Having completed pouring out his heart to God in a description of his physical and social pain he now speaks of his spiritual pain in the words of verse 10,

“Because of your great wrath for you have taken me up and thrown me aside”.

All of the Old Testament writers seemed to associate great sickness and miss- fortune as the discipline of the Lord. In David’s Psalm 6 seemingly written one day when he was very physically ill he prays to God with these words in verses 1 – 3,

“Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?”

David is seeing his sickness as the wrath of God against him in discipline and the writer of Psalm 102 views his great illness the same way. It is the book of Job that throws doubt in the Old Testament that suffering sickness and calamity of various kinds is always the result of God’s judgment against sin. Job was not suffering because of his sin but his suffering was a test of his faith.

The New Testament will give us yet another two reasons why we might suffer and they are:

  1. We might suffer to glorify God as we see in the teaching of Jesus when confronted by the questions about why we might suffer in this life in John 9. We read this in John 9: 1 – 3,

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

      3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that  

   the works of God might be displayed in this life”. 

  1. We might suffer because we are living in a fallen world as Paul speaks of in Romans 8: 18 – 21,

“ I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God”.

However the writer of Psalm 102 takes the Old Testament teaching that suffering comes as a result of the discipline or judgment of the Lord on the chin and therefore feels great spiritual pain as a result. His feeling is that God has simply thrown him away as we see in the words in verse 10 that says,

“You have taken me up and thrown me away”.

However both the Old and New Testament teaches us that for a true believer of God the Lord only disciplines those he loves as we see in the Old Testament in Proverbs 3: 11 – 12 and those words are taken up in Hebrews 12 and made even clearer that God disciplines us because he loves us and uses this discipline to actually help us, Hebrews 12: 5 – 10,

“And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

 “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness”.

He concludes this second section which is the complaint section of his lament with verse 11, which seems to be saying his illness is leading to his certain death,

“My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass”

Albert Barnes explains the meaning and significance of the image of the “evening shadow” with these words,

“The shadow made by the gnomon on the sun – dial, which marks the hours as they pass. The idea is that the shadow made by the descending sun was about to disappear altogether. It had become less distinct and clear, and it would soon vanish”.

A more modern expression or image might be the saying, “Your time is up” and of course this image means that the writer of Psalm 102 felt he was very close to death made even clearer by the last image of withering grass,

“I wither away like grass”.

  1. (12 – 22) HIS CONFESSION OF FAITH IN GOD

 

  1. vs. 12     God enthroned in heaven

Following Jason Jackson theory of the structure of a lament we come to his third aspect of a lament which Jackson calls the confession of trust and the writer of Psalm 102 has two aspects to his confession of trust and the first is in verse 12 which declares that he sees and believes that God reigns in heaven,

“But you, O Lord sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations”.

So even though this man is experiencing great pain physically, socially and spiritually his faith in God remained strong and this is because he has a big view of God. One of my bibles college lecturers many years ago told us that if we want a bigger faith in God than we need to gain a bigger view of God. In other words the size of our faith in God is determined not by how much we might work up an emotional response to God but how big our view of God is.

The writer of Psalm 102 like those who wrote the Psalms 93 – 100 saw God as the heavenly king of everything. God sits on his throne in heaven and rules. On many occasions in Psalms 93 – 100 we read the words,

“The Lord reigns”

Psalm 97, for instance starts with the words,

“The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice”.

Why did the writer of Psalm 102 in the midst of his great pain think of God reigning in heaven?

I think he had at least two reasons to think of this:

  1. Being a post exile Jew God is now there king alone.

I have presented in all my Psalms in the fourth book of Psalms the fact that these Psalms were placed in the fourth book of Psalms after the return from exile in Babylon when the eternal kingdom promised to David’s descendants seemed lost.

This is because the line of David kings seemed over as the last direct David line of Kings died in exile. Yet the post exile Psalms or those placed in the post exile fourth book of Psalms present God in heaven as the king of Israel and the world reigning as king and suggest that one day a great descendant of David would come to establish the throne of David for all eternity.

We saw a prediction of the coming king as judge in Psalm 96: 13,

“They will sing before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth, He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth”.

We will see some clear ideas of the coming of a great future king in verses like 16 and 17 of this Psalm,

“For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea”.

So in the post Babylon Psalm collections both book four and five God is the king who rules from heaven or as verse 12 of this Psalm says,

“Sits enthroned forever”.

This then gave men like the writer of Psalm 102 great faith and hope as their God is the king of everything and everyone and that thought helped them face the many trials of life.

  1. The writer of Psalm 102 needs answers to his long exile in Babylon

The second reason why the writer of Psalm 102 found comfort and hope in the idea that his God reigns forever in heaven as we will now see that this man’s suffering was not just his terrible illness but also was the pain in body and soul he had from being part of a people locked up in exile in Babylon for over 70 years.

This is what he will tell us in verse 20 of this Psalm,

“To hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death”.

The writer of Psalm 102 is writing before the return from exile so he and his fellow Jews were like prisoners in another far off land when their homeland of Israel lay in ruins. Maybe this writer’s illness was a result of being literally locked up in Babylon or was a result of torture he received at the hands of his Babylonian over- Lords.

So in this context the idea that his God sat enthroned in heaven over even the powerful Babylonians who were now suppressing him and his people gave him hope and faith to endure knowing his God would release him and his people one day soon and return them to their beloved homeland.

Paul spoke of true deep happiness, which he called contentment even as he was locked up in prison. He wrote for instance about this to the Philippians in a letter written from inside a Roman prison, Philippians 4: 10 – 13,

“I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength”.

The writer of Psalm 102 is implying something like this when as he endures great physical, social and spiritual pain that he can lift his eyes to God and say,

“But you, O Lord sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations”.

Even his generation of his people who are at present locked up in the city and land of Babylon and humanly speaking have no hope.

  1. (13 – 22) God will restore his people

So we now see even more clearly that the writer of Psalm 102 sufferings of pain was not just because of some kind of physical illness but included or was associated with the fact that he was part of a nation of people who were locked up as exiles like prisoners in the great pagan city of Babylon thousands of miles away from their beloved homeland that lay in ruins.

So his second confession of faith in verse 13 is,

“You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her: the appointed time has come”.

This writer really knew the Hebrew scriptures as we have already seen from the fact he quoted or at least alluded to ideas or wordings from the book of Psalms and Job written before his time and now he seems to be aware of a famous prophets prediction concerning the Jews exile in Babylon, which is from the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 29: 10 and 11,

“This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfil my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

 Interestingly this prophecy concerning the Jews return from exile was part of a letter written by the prophet Jeremiah to the Jewish exiles in Babylon as Jeremiah 29: 1 says,

The surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon”.

It appears this writer was part of this group of people or more likely the son of one of these people Jeremiah wrote to. I say son because the writer of Psalm 102 indicates in verse 23 his life is about to be cut short indicating he was not an old person but relatively young.

So the writer of Psalm 102 expects this return from exile to happen soon as he says in verse 13,

“For the time to her, the appointed time has come”.

This promise of a return to the Promised Land gave him great hope and faith to hold on in the midst of great suffering.

But as we will see in the next section his actual request to God in prayer is that his life not end now so maybe he wanted God to let him see that return to his peoples former homeland.

The New Testament indicates we too might have to suffer because of our faith in Christ as we wait for the Lords return or go to be with the Lord forever when we pass from this life to be with the Lord. I quoted before Paul’s word on this in Romans 8: 18 – 21 but Peter has something similar to say to what Paul taught in one of his letters, 1 Peter 4: 12 – 13,

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed”.

The New Testament also teaches that even in our suffering God is with us, helping us and as Philippians 4: 7 says, giving us his peace, which passes all understanding.

The writer of Psalm 102 in the next seven verses speaks of three things concerning this great hope.

  1. He and his people feelings for there former homeland (vs. 14)
  2. How the return from exile will be a witness of God’s power and glory to the world (vs. 15 – 16, 18 and 21 and 22)
  3. How this act of God is a direct answer to his people’s prayers (vs. 17 and vs. 19 – 20)

Lets then have a closer look at these three great things the Jews return from exile will achieve:

  1. He and his people feelings for there former homeland (vs. 14)

The first thing this writer speaks of concerning this soon to be fulfilled promise of God of the return of the Jews to Israel is in verse 14,

“For her stones are dear to your servants; her very dust moves her to pity”.

 The old expression is, “There’s no place like home”, which of course is a key line from the movie “The Wizard of OZ” comes to mind here. When my wife and I have travelled to many places in our own beautiful country of Australia or many other fascinating places in the world we always love coming home and our home and home town where we live is the place we love to be in this life.

For the Jew like our writer of Psalm 102 even the dusty ruins of his homeland were dear to him and his fellow countrymen as that homeland was God’s special gift to his people the Jews. There in that place, even in ruins was the place God revealed himself to them and in a special way they felt close to God in it. As the writer of Psalm 48 put it in verses 1 – 3,

“Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy

mountain.Beautiful in its loftiness the joy of the whole earth, like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King.God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress”.

Of course the writer of Psalm 102 acknowledges that the city described in Psalm 48 is now only ruins and dust but he and his people still love the place because they love the God it represents. He of course knew that one day soon his people would go back there and rebuild that city as he speaks of in verse 16,

“For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory”.

Peter teaches in 1 Peter 2: 11 that as Christians we are aliens and strangers in this world,

“I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world”

For our real home is in heaven as Jesus makes it clear in John 14: 1 -3,

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am”.

So as Christians as the old song says,

“This world is not my home I am just a passing through”.

So we might love where we live on earth but our real place we should all look forward to is our home with Christ in heaven, that is the place we should all long to one day just as the writer of Psalm 102 longed to be in Zion or Jerusalem.

  1. How the return from exile will be a witness of God’s power and glory to the world (vs. 15 – 16, 18 and 21 and 22)

The writer of Psalm 102 then looks forward to what this certain return to his homeland will do to the nations around Israel and he sees that this great miraculous turn of events for the downtrodden nation of Israel will make these nations sit up and take notice that their God is great and glorious, verses 15 – 16,

“The nations will fear the name of the Lord, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory. 16 For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory”.

The writer of Psalm 102 uses the word, “Fear” meaning they will have reverence for this God who first judged his people by sending them into exile and then worked history so that they could return and rebuild the former glory of his special place on earth, Zion or Jerusalem.

I have often wondered why the Jews over many centuries have been hated so much and have concluded that it could be that non – Jewish people are jealous of the many blessings God has given his special people.

As Christians we are part of the New Israel that through what Christ has done on the cross has brought us into his kingdom as Paul teaches in Galatians 3: 26 – 29,

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”.

Christians like the Jews also are often persecuted because they are so blessed by God and it has been my experience that people I know who have truly come to the Lord have had their lives turned around and have become greatly blessed, even in this life and that has been a great witness to the God they now believe in.

In verse 18 he speaks of his desire for this fulfilment of God’s promise to be written down for future generations to read and know,

“Let this be written for future generations, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord”.

This is the only place in the Psalms where what the Psalmist is thinking is to be actually written down for future prosperity.

This Psalmist no doubt wrote down his Psalm which future editors after the return from exile granted his desire or wish by including his written down Lament or Psalm in the fourth book of Psalms.

The New Testament speaks of why scripture was written down in a verses like 2 Timothy 3: 16 – 17,

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”.

The details of the return from exile also appear in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah which, like the writer desired have been read by future generations not yet created and will be read by generations or people not yet created after my generation has passed on as well.

In verses 21 – 22, the writer of Psalm 102 speaks more about the witness to the world that God’s return of his people to Israel from Babylon will bring to the world at large,

“So the name of the Lord will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem 22 when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the Lord”.

This look ahead by the writer of Psalm 102 was in one sense something that happened around 500 years before the coming of Christ as the name of the Lord was again declared in Zion or Jerusalem and as I have just said we can read about this in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Even a gathering of people from kingdoms of the world gathered to worship the Lord as Jews who were scattered all over the world were able to return to Israel to worship the Lord.

However these two verses could also be seen as a prophecy for the distant future that through the work of Christ in bringing salvation to the world and when he returns in his glory to judge the world and take all who truly believe in him to glory in the new heavenly Jerusalem then these words will be totally fulfilled as we see in Revelations 7: 9 – 12,

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

 “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:

 “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honour and power and strength

be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”

  1. How this act of God is a direct answer to his people’s prayers (vs. 17 and vs. 19 – 20)

The writer of Psalm 102 then acknowledges the role that the prayers of his people played in the return from exile in Babylon and writes in verse 17,

“He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea”.

 Then in verses 19 – 20 he speaks of God answering his people’s desperate prayers for God’s help to escape the long exile in Babylon,

“The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death”.

 Interestingly the writer of Psalm 102 speaks of the people as prisoners and those condemned to death maybe that is his plight or are an image of how he saw what exile in Babylon was actually like.

So as the people suffered in exile like they suffered in slavery in Egypt they cried out to God in prayer and God said this to Moses at the burning bush, Exodus 3: 7 – 8,

“The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites”.

Now God sees from heaven the plight of his people and their groans or cries to him for help and he enters yet again into human history to save them and deliver them back to that same land he gave the people of Israel in Moses time.

These verses are telling us that our prayers to God do not go unnoticed and in fact in the New Testament we have many promises that God not only hears our prayers but answers them as well, like Matthew 7: 7 – 11,

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

  1. (23 – 26) HIS CONTINUATION OF HIS REQUEST TO GOD

 

  1. (23 – 24)   Stop his pending death

Jason Jackson says that all laments contain a petition or a specific request from God and verses 23 – 24 I think is the writer of Psalms 102 actual prayer request.

So buoyed by his acknowledgement of how God listens to our prayers and answers them the writer of Psalm 102 now makes his request to God and he prays, in verses 23 – 24,

“In the course of my life he broke my strength; he cut short my days. So I said; ‘Do not take me away, O my God, in the midst of my days; your years go on through all generations”.

What is our writer of Psalm 102 actually asking God to do for him?

I believe he is saying in verse 23 that he believes he is dying and is very close to death which is what the words in verse 23 is saying,

“In the course of my life he broke my strength; he cut short my days”

The idea of cutting short his days means he is not an old man and the breaking of his strength seems to be saying his illness has weekend him so much he is close to death. So he asks God to not take his life away from him in verse 24a,

“So I said; ‘Do not take me away”.

David Guzik writes,

“Overwhelmed by both his sense of great weakness in affliction, and by the sense of God’s greatness and ultimate victory, the Psalmist did the right thing, He cried out in prayer, pleading for God’s merciful help”.

Why I think he wants an extension of his life seems to be connected to what he has just opened up namely the return of his people the Jews from exile to their beloved homeland. It seems to me he feels he will not personally see the Promised Land himself something Moses had to bear as well. Moses was stopped by God by his death from entering the Promised Land and only saw it from high up on a mountain overlooking the Promised Land.

Moses viewed the Promised Land from that mountain and there God promises to take Moses to be with him and his people in Heaven, Deuteronomy 32: 50,

“There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people”.

We all have a date set by God for us to depart from this life and as the saying goes,

“When your times up there is nothing you can do about it”

We, who have faith in God through Christ however have much hope given to us in the face of our certain deaths and I cannot go past Jesus amazing words in John 11: 25 – 26 as an expression of this hope,

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Death for the believer is but a doorway into a better existence and this is what Jesus is speaking of in Revelation 3: 20,

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me”.

Some say this verse relates more in its context to the door of the church where Jesus is knocking to come in but the next verse makes it clear he is speaking about coming into his presence and particularly after death, verse 21,

“To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne”

  1. (24b – 26)   God’s immortality compared to man’s mortality

We do not know if God answered the prayer of the writer of Psalm 102 for an extension of his life but he continues to show us his great faith in God. Thinking of how short his life is as he faces certain death he speaks of the immortality of God, that God’s days go on and on, 24b.

“Your years go on through all generations”.

Albert Barnes explains the significance of this statement in the context of his request for an extension of his life with these words,

“The psalmist appeals to what God himself enjoyed – as a reason why life – so great a blessing – should be granted to him a little longer”.

It is as though he is saying you are eternal God so could you give me out of your abundance of days just a few more. So as he saw the coming blessing of God in the return to his beloved homeland of Israel and its city of God, Jerusalem, he asks God to spare his life so he could see it himself.

This leads the Psalmist to then reflect on the immortality of God in contrast to the mortality of man and all creation. He goes back to the beginning of creation in his thoughts on this as says in verse 25,

“In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands”.

This man who seems to know the Hebrew scripture’s so well combines two great verses concerning the creation.

The first is very first verse of the bible, Genesis 1: 1,

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”

The second is one of David’s creation Psalms, Psalm 8: 3,

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers”

Its not stated but certainly implied even before there was a creation God existed and this is where John starts his account of creation in John 1: 1 and 2, speaking of God and his word which John 1: 14 says is Jesus become flesh,

“In the beginning was he Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, He was with God in the beginning”.

The Jehovah witness bible miss- translates the term was God to was a God to try and destroy the divinity of Christ but Jesus is God and is eternal as Revelation 1: 8 makes clear,

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

The Lord God here is certainly Jesus himself as John has been just speaking of him in verse 7, where he writes,

“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen”.

So God is eternal and has endless days but our writer contrasts this with what we are like and the rest of creation is like in verse 26,

“They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded”.

Creation and of course our lives which are part of that are just like clothing our writer of Psalm 102 says, they wear out and we get new ones, they come and go and when they go we throw them away.

I personally have great difficulty throwing out old and comfortable clothes but my wife is ruthless and she makes me go through my old clothes and bundle them up.

We usually pass them on the local Salvation Army second hand shop but I guess most of my old clothes are so warn out they are sent on to become industrial rags.

Life for us as mortal human beings comes and goes and our writer of Psalm 102 is acknowledging this in his request for an extension of his days in this fleeting life.

The writer to the Hebrews quotes verses 25 – 27 in his opening chapter verses 10 – 12 in speaking about the superiority of Jesus over everything including the Angels in heaven so we have another scripture that points to the divinity of Christ. David Guzik raps up the main thought of this section with these words,

“Amidst the changes and chances of this mortal life, one topic of consolation will ever remain, namely, the eternity and immutability of God our Savior, of him who was, and is, and is to come.”

  1. (27 – 28)   HIS CERTAIN HOPE IN GOD

 

  1. vs. 27       Hope in the unchanging eternal God

We come then to the fifth aspect of Jason Jackson’s theory of the structure of an Old Testament Lament, which he calls “Words of assurance, and a vow to praise”. The last two verses certainly fit the description of words of assurance and so far as words of praise in this lament they are certainly implied in the last verse but not clearly stated like many other examples of Laments in the book of Psalms.

Our writer of Psalm 102 raps up his thoughts on God’s eternal nature with his second final thought and hope with verse 27, which says,

“But you remain the same, and your years will never end”.

 This verse is an echo of what our writer has already said about God in verse 12,

But you, O Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations”.

 Psalm 48: 14, speaks of God as the eternal God who promises to guide us even up to our deaths or as the verse says “the end”.

“For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end”.

 The Old Testament believers like our writer of Psalm 102 had a less clear understanding of life after death than we have but they still did believe they were going to be with God and his people when they died. As Moses was told at the end of his life that when he dies somehow he would go to be, “gathered to your people”, as we read in Deuteronomy 32: 50,

“There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people”.

The Jewish concept of being in the bosom of Abraham (Abrahams side in Luke 16: 22) comes from the idea that if Abraham was close to God now then to be close to Abraham when we die is to be close to God as well.

However the New Testament and the teaching of Jesus makes life after death much more clearer and Jesus even teaches his disciples that he was going back to heaven after his death and resurrection to prepare a place or a home for us when we die, John 14: 1 – 4.

So the writer of Psalm 102 had a sure and certain faith in his eternal God who will never end and therefore will always be there for him. Paul had the same confidence in Christ and his love for us, Romans 8: 38 – 39,

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

  1. vs. 28       Hope in the promise of God’s eternal presence with his people

The final verse and thought of the Psalm fleshes out what I believe the writer of this Psalm was starting to say in the previous verse. This ending to the Psalm is typical of all Lament Psalms. The lament Psalms start on a low and negative note but finish on a high and positive note often in praise of the God they are praying to.

The writer of Psalm 102 finishes his Lament with the positive words of assurance that say,

“The children of your servants will live in your presence; their descendants will be established before you”.

 The idea here of living in God’s presence probably has the thought of God’s people living back in Zion, Jerusalem where God had promised to dwell forever with his people, as expressed in many Psalms like Psalm 68: 16,

“Why gaze in envy, you rugged mountain, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the Lord himself will dwell forever?”

Zion or Jerusalem is where, in the Old Testament God’s presence is specially found but we know that Jews like David and other Psalm writers like son’s of Korah believed that Zion was only a physical reminder of the truth that God promises to dwell with his people any where they might be found.

David had a special realization of this in Psalm 61 where he seems to be out in the desert areas of Israel, probably on the run from his son Absalom as he writes, Psalm 61: 1 – 3,

“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe”.

So the writer of Psalm 102 looks ahead beyond his death and sees hope by faith as he has the vision of his children and the generations to come always being in the presence of God and therefore he to one way or another will always be in God’s presence.

We have according to Peter in 1 Peter 1: 3 – 5, a living hope of eternal life with God through the mercy of God offered to us through Christ through his death and resurrection,

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time”.

CONCLUSION

I started this Psalm talk with the dilemma I had about whether asking God in prayer for a parking spot was right or wrong and I concluded that based on Philippians 4: 6 that God wants us to turn any of our anxieties into prayers and he might not take away that which causes us to be anxious but he will according to verse 7 give us his peace in the midst of our troubles.

I then pointed out that the writer of Psalm 102 wrote a lament, which followed a structure of going from addressing God to a complaint and then a confession of trust, a request and then a final word of assurance and praise as pointed out by Jason Jackson.

The writer of Psalm 102 had far worse problems to deal with than not being able to find a parking spot in a busy shopping centre car park as he suffered a painful life threatening illness and was caught up in a cruel captivity with his people in Babylon.

We read of how he poured out his heart to God telling him how he was suffering and asking him eventually for an extension of his life as he was close to death.

We then saw the faith and hope of this writer as he took hold of the promises of God, particularly the promise to bring his people, the Jews, back to his Promised Land, Israel and its eternal city of Jerusalem.

He finally came to a renewed understanding of the eternal nature of God who he trusted and believed in to lead him and future generations into God’s prescience forever.

We finally learnt that this points us to our great hope in Christ, which through his death, and resurrection we have a way into God’s presence, which he gives us out of his great mercy and love.

We can learn then that we should never be afraid to come to God in prayer and if we do we will as Philippians 4: 7 find,

“The peace of God, which transcends all understanding” Which will, Guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

 I close as usual with and original poem based on this Psalm and a prayer:

LISTEN TO ME O LORD (Based on Psalm 102)

 

Listen to me O Lord

Listen to my cry

Do not hide your face O Lord

Answer quickly for I soon will die.

 

Listen to me O Lord

For I’m in so much pain

My fever burns me up

And is causing my life to drain.

 

Chorus:

 

I know you are the king of Heaven

I know you are the God of love

You sent Jesus so we could be forgiven

One day with him I will rise above.

 

Listen to me O Lord

I’m a ghost of my former self

My illness has killed my apatite

I feel like a bird on a shelf.

Listen to me O Lord

My enemies are kicking me while I’m down.

They have made my name a curse

And I’m wallowing in the dust of the ground.

 

Chorus:

 

I know your word does promise

That you will give me your peace

So ask you Lord give me solace

So I might find your sweet release.

 

Listen to me O Lord

For I am a prisoner of my pain

I long to be free to join again

The people who honour your name.

 

Listen to me O Lord

May I live just a little more

So I can proclaim your message Lord

To all people to answer your call.

 

Chorus:

 

I know you are the eternal God

Who reigns forever above

But my life is like the grass that dies

Give me life O great God of love.

Yes give me life O great God of love.

 

By: Jim Wenman

 

PRAYER:

 Lord I know you are a God of love so I bring to you my problems and difficulties and ask you to help me deal with these. I claim your promise that Paul gave us in Philippians 4 that we should not become anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving we should present it to you and if we do you will give us your peace, which transcends all understanding. So I earnestly ask for your peace in the midst of my problems in the Name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savoir Amen.

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